: The east annex of the Ohio Penitentiary, where death row and the execution chamber were located, displayed photographs of hundreds of prisoners who were condemned to death throughout the state’s history. This portrait of 32-year-old Harry Pierpont is one of them. Pierpont was a friend and mentor of notorious gangster, John Dillinger. He helped plan a successful escape from the Indiana State Prison in 1933 with seven other prisoners. Afterwards, Pierpont along with Russell Clark, Charles Makley, and Harry Copeland (all infamous cohorts of Dillinger) hatched a plan to free Dillinger himself from a jail in Lima, OH. Upon reaching the jail, the four men attempted to pass themselves off as officials from Indiana State Prison who had come to collect Dillinger for parole violations. However, their attempted deception was unsuccessful and they ended up shooting Clark County Sheriff, Jesse Sarber, in order to set Dillinger free.
At this point Dillinger and his gang committed a handful of bank robberies across the Midwest and raided two police arsenals in Indiana. They were later apprehended in Tuscon, Arizona. Dillinger was sent back to face trial in Indiana while Pierpont, Mackley, and Copeland were returned to Ohio where they were convicted for the murder of Sheriff Sarber. After their convictions Pierpont and Mackley promptly attempted an ill-fated prison escape. Mackley was shot and killed during the incident and Pierpont was badly wounded. He was executed soon after.
The caption at the bottom of the photograph reads: “No. 183, Harry Pierpont of Allen County, Electrocuted October 17th, 1934, for the Murder of Sheriff Jesse Sarber. Altogether there were 315 people who were electrocuted at the Ohio Penitentiary between 1897 and 1963. Harry Pierpont was the 183rd prisoner to be executed in this manner.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL08242 Subjects
: Ohio History--State and Local Government--Law; Ohio History--State and Local Government--Corrections; Capital punishment--Ohio--History; Electrocution; Death row; Ohio Penitentiary (Columbus, Ohio); Dillinger, John, 1903-1934 Places
: Allen County (Ohio); Clark County (Ohio); Lima (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio)